I was in Portland last weekend. When I announced my trip, Isaac asked hopefully, Oregon? Maine? The answer was: No, Portland, Victoria.
I have ambivalent feelings about long drives. On the one hand, I love getting away: the anticipation, the newness, the roadside snacks. On the other: I’m convinced I’m going to die in a head-on collision. (See? My very first blog post and I’m writing about this fear.)
Portland, Victoria is close to the South Australian border, about five hours from Melbourne by road. We were headed to the Portland Bay Press, a public access print workshop similar to the one where I work to hang a show of works by our artist members. We stayed overnight, woken late by teenage hoons doing burnouts down the main street. The hotdog and felafel van set up in the carpark across the way made sure that no-one went hungry whilst waiting for his turn to peel down the main drag at 200 km/h.
By the time we left late next morning, I wanted to move to Portland. Friendly people, a shopfront studio, the most beautiful beach in the world. And the squid boats! I fell in love with the light bulbs strung across their decks: when I asked a local where I might obtain one of these bulbs (thinking I might hang one in my laundry shed) I was gently disabused of my city girl fantasy. Each bulb draws about 5000 watts, I was told, enough to plunge a whole street into darkness. (Writing this now, I’m wondering if perhaps 5000 watts was somewhat of an exaggeration, but I’m still guessing it wouldn’t be wise to plug in.)
The long drive provided ample time to knit. I’d almost given up on my lollipop sock, but I was able to push through the gusset, down to the home stretch. I’m still doing something wrong (purling and purling away on the wrong side) but the concentrated car knitting sessions renewed my interest. My back-up knitting (more baby shoes) didn’t get touched.
I don’t think Portland, VIC can rival Portland, OR or Portland, MA’s crafty populations or Powell’s Books or relative proximity to New York City. But visit if you can. There’s a camp high above Bridgewater Bay that’d be a perfect place for some writing or winter knitting.
By the way, have you heard mav’s design*sponge podcast interview? I expect we’ll hear a lot more from other Portlanders in the near future. (Have I mentioned how much I love podcasts?)